Tag Archives: concentration

Week 22 – Yoga and the Comfort Zone

Throughout the MKMMA course we’ve been challenged to get out of our comfort zone.  For those of us who have been even remotely faithful to the exercises, we can all attest we’ve been out of our comfort zone too many times to count over the past 22 weeks.

Now that I’m engaged and looking at getting married in the next few months, I’ve adopted the “bridal frenzy” that is “I’ve GOT to lose weight for my wedding!!!”  (OK, truth be told, I wanted to lose weight for ME…but hey, the whole wedding thing is a good excuse to kick my efforts into high gear.)

So what do I do?  I step out of my comfort zone and into…BAH-BAH-BAH-BAH…the Fitness Center!  Now let me just say that I’m one of those people that doesn’t visit a gym unless I’m dragged in.  But now I don’t have an excuse…it’s included in our homeowner’s association, so I want to take advantage of it.

The fitness center has a “motto” of sorts on all their shirts:

If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you.

And they I see they have Zumba classes.  “Woo-hoo!  I LOOOOOVVVVVEEE the Zumba DVDs!  I’m gonna do THAT!  That’s easy!”

OK…so my first step is a baby step outside my comfort zone:  going to the fitness center.

What I’ve learned is that the classes are very different from the DVDs.  VERY different.  I felt like a fish out of water.  And I have to admit it was slightly uncomfortable being the only person out of about 30 who didn’t know what the heck was going on.

But I had fun!  So I went back.  And so far I’ve been to Zumba 3 times…and I’m starting to feel a little more comfortable.

Time to expand the comfort zone!

OK…step 2:  a class called “Cardio Strength.”  It’s an “anything goes” type of class.  The first time I went the instructor was leading a “cardio kickboxing” class for the first time.  Man-oh-man was it a challenging workout!  And yet because no one knew what was going on, I almost felt like I had the upper hand because I’ve had some experience kickboxing.  The workout was challenging, and I had a blast!!!  (And I was sooooooo sore the next day from throwing all those punches!)

That was a bigger step outside the comfort zone!

So I went back.  Unfortunately, this week’s class was running…sprints, up and down the hill, etc.  Due to an injury, I can’t run.  So it wasn’t just that it was outside my comfort zone…I could do permanent damage.

And you know what…I was sad when I left without a workout.  Hopefully next week’s class will be something I can physically do.

Time to expand the comfort zone again!

Next up:  yoga.  I already know this will be the most challenging of the classes for me.  Back in 2006 my doctor encouraged me to take up yoga for stress relief, strength, and weight loss.  I got a whole 5 minutes into the DVD and wondered how much time was left.

So here we are, 9 years later.  I’ve changed.  My body has changed.  Time to give this another shot.

The class moved slowly (to me…especially compared to the high-energy classes like Zumba and kickboxing).  I was physically able to do all the poses, though I had to exit the pose early on a couple occasions.  But I got too comfortable in one of the poses…and I fell asleep!

Apparently that’s the REAL danger of the comfort zone…you can get SO comfortable that you don’t have to pay attention…and then you get results you didn’t want.

Yoga, silence, and the comfort zoneSince I was told that wasn’t a “typical” class I went back for another yoga class today.  While this one was slightly more active — and I did NOT fall asleep — there was the issue of the silence.

Here’s what I mean:  the yoga class is quieter than most libraries.  And then you get into a pose and hold it for 30-90 seconds.  That doesn’t seem like a long time until you’re holding a pose for that long.  And then it can seem like forever!  And while I was in these poses, I found my mind wandering to all sorts of things.  And that’s when the instructor said:

Concentrate.  Focus.  Balance.

That was a “lightbulb moment” for me, because the reason I was so UNcomfortable with yoga is BECAUSE of the silence.  I had nowhere to be but in my head.  I was directed to concentrate, focus, and balance.  These things are not natural to me, and they are REALLY uncomfortable in silence!

So…while I don’t see yoga as my “thing,” it might be just the thing I need to expand my comfort zone.  Get inside my head.  Get comfortable there.  And then see what NEW experiences take me out of my comfort zone.  After all…

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.